Sometimes it’s the simplest things that are the most effective when it comes to improving your happiness and wellbeing. Even if you can only spare a few hours a week from your hectic lifestyle, exercise is one of the most powerful ways to reach higher levels of happiness – and it’s free!
While many of us have enjoyed our fair share of outdoor sports and activities during the summer in London’s parks and popular lidos (with a few healthy treats on hand to keep us going!), now isn’t the time to give up on an active lifestyle. As we draw ever closer to winter, with days becoming shorter, darker and more chilly, it can be easy to fall into the slump of seasonal affective disorder.
This is the most important time to unleash the full potential of endorphins in your body. You don’t need to know the difference between dopamine or serotonin to enjoy the rewards of exercise, simply put on your running trainers and exercise yourself happy.
Unleash your endorphins
Whenever you subject your body to significant physical activity – be it a run, a swim or even a game of squash – the endorphins that are released into your system help to alleviate stress and improve your overall mood.
This means that every time you choose to embrace the athlete inside you, you’re welcoming a change in your brain’s chemistry that releases certain hormones, which are known for helping you achieve a greater sense of satisfaction and wellbeing.
Acting as a natural painkiller and minimising discomfort, these chemicals are a more sustainable solution to stress than other common coping mechanisms such as junk food, alcohol or cigarettes – not to mention the negative consequences that come with them.
So the next time you’re looking for some relief, get chasing that runner’s high!
Setting exercise-related goals and achieving them regularly can provide considerable confidence and self-esteem that will permeate into other areas of your life. Put simply, if you’re killing it in the gym, those deadlines and weekly chores will seem like a pushover.
We’re not going to lie; it’s been hard work to get Silvina’s Nature up and running as a new business. But when our to-do lists have felt overwhelming, a weekend run in the park has worked wonders.
A habit of regular exercise will also help keep you mentally sharp throughout the week. With a clear head, you’ll be able to handle any challenges that come your way and get on top of your workload.
Even in short doses, a period of physical activity can give you more energy throughout the day. Whether it’s a mid-day run or a late night swim, a productive exercise session can help fuel higher levels of productivity in other areas of your life, making you feel like a winner in more ways than one.
Swim away your stress
There’s something special about complete immersion and the act of gliding through the water’s surface that cuts through the stress of life, ushering in a sense of calmness. With the departure of summer and outdoor lidos not seeming so appealing anymore, you might find it hard to get your swimming fix. But if you’re lucky enough to have a pool in your local gym, this is certainly something to make the most of.
For those suffering injury, back pain or issues with joints, swimming is the perfect way to stay active. With incredibly low impact on your joints and spine, and the ability to promote muscle relaxation and improve flexibility, a good old swim is one of the most accessible forms of exercise no matter your age or fitness goals.
Be part of a team
Whether you join an amateur sports team or attend a gym class, exercise is great for providing you with a sense of belonging.
This positive social benefit can help you feel inspired and motivated to keep striving for results while interacting with others during group exercises, or simply in the changing rooms, can help you to avoid feeling lonely and isolated, which is common when we get sucked into our busy routines. If you’re struggling to break the ice, try sharing some healthy treats and offer round a few Crowns!
Whether you’re naturally reserved or an extrovert, our lifestyles can sometimes demand much of our time and commitment – leaving little room for a social life or ‘me time’. Exercise is a great way to combat the city blues and interact with like-minded people who are all going through the same thing as you!
While an exercise-filled life is good for your physical health, some of the biggest benefits can actually be made in the mental health department. We all have times when pressure from work or family life gets the better of us, but finding ways to overcome this is the key to maintaining our overall wellbeing.
And don’t forget, you should always leave some room to treat yourself too. Whether you’re bringing along a box of Silvina’s Nature Crowns to the gym as your post-workout snack, or sharing your treats with your yoga buddies, enjoy some guilt-free indulgence whenever the urge finds you.
After all, happiness is about giving your body what it wants as much as what it needs. Find the right balance and you’ll be laughing.